One good slow start deserves another.
The UAlbany men’s lacrosse team was hampered by the absence of 11 players last week because of COVID-19 protocols, including some of their best, but kicked off the season with a convincing win over Colgate that moved UAlbany up two spots in the national rankings.
With those players back for Saturday’s game at Hartford, the Great Danes still needed some time to get rolling, but once they did, they put away the Hawks with authority, 16-6, to improve to 2-0 heading into a big game against Vermont.
Players missing in action last week accounted for the first eight goals for UAlbany, and after a sluggish first half that still resulted in a 6-3 lead, the Great Danes outscored Hartford 10-3 in the second.
“Started a little slow, a little sloppy,” UAlbany head coach Scott Marr said. “We kind of got to the field a little later than I would’ve liked. I don’t know why we got there so late, but we did. So we didn’t really have a great warmup and our legs weren’t really there to begin the game. We had to sort of grind it out in the first half.”
The game was scoreless until Ron John scored with 7:15 left in the first quarter, and he made it 2-0 with 2:32 left. After Graydon Hogg put UAlbany up 3-0 early in the second quarter, Tehoka Nanticoke scored three unanswered in a span of 1:15 to give the Great Danes a 6-2 lead with 6:26 left in the first half.
Although it took the offensive players who missed last week a while to get going, Marr was pleased with the goaltending from Liam Donnelly — and the defense, in general — for the second week in a row.
“Defensively, we played very well again, got a bunch of shot clock violations [in the first half], and Liam had a couple saves,” he said. “We got going in the second half and scored 10 goals, so we played much better and started to move a lot better, shared the ball a little bit more.”
Nanticoke, a preseason All-America honorable mention, finished with three goals and four assists, John had three goals and two assists and Hogg scored twice to carry the offensive load.
“Tehoka played very well; Ron’s always a good spark for us,” Marr said. “He scored the first two goals and got us going that way, and Graydon had a nice end-to-end rush and scores to make it three-nothing. Then Hoags [Nanticoke] has three in a row to put us up 6-2, so, yeah, it was great to have them back.
“I just think, coming out of the quarantine, we struggled a little bit. Our legs weren’t under us, and we had to get it going in the second half.”
UAlbany 2 4 3 7 — 16
Hartford 0 3 2 1 — 6
UAlbany scoring: Nanticoke 3-4, Yunker 3-1, John 3-2, Seneca 2-1, Hogg 2-0, Pezzimenti 1-0, Fingar 1-0, Gash 1-0, Patterson 0-1, Casey 0-2. Hartford scoring: Sericolo 2-0, Paley 1-1, Landymore 1-0, Ramsey 1-0, Boniface 1-1.
Goalies: UAlbany, Donnelly 10 saves. Hartford, Logan 13 saves.